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'Chris' Puts Smackdown on 'Joey'

(Posted September 24, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES ( It's now apparent that not "Everybody Hates Chris," except maybe some folks at NBC.

The premiere of the Chris Rock-produced and -narrated comedy, one of the most highly praised new shows of the season, drew one of the biggest premiere audiences in UPN history, even pushing the netlet past one-time Thursday ruler NBC for a half-hour.

"Chris" drew 7.8 million viewers at 8 p.m. ET Thursday (Sept. 22), making it the most-watched comedy premiere in the network's 10-year history and the No. 3 premiere of any kind (behind "Star Trek: Voyager," which launched the network in 1995, and "Enterprise" in 2001). The show also scored a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49, placing second in its time period to CBS' "Survivor."

Those numbers were good enough to beat the first half-hour of NBC's "Joey," whose hour-long premiere drew 7.5 million viewers and a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating from 8 to 8:30. That's a somewhat remarkable occurrence, given that two years ago the season premiere of "Friends" brought in more than 24 million viewers.

UPN's other premieres on the night -- "Love, Inc.," "Eve" and "Cuts" -- couldn't hold the "Chris" audience, but overall the network improved a little in adults 18-49 over the same day last year, when "WWE Smackdown!" held the Thursday-night spot, and by more than 70 percent in the young female demographic it targets.

NBC, meanwhile, suffered across the night. "Joey" improved in its second half to average 7.8 million viewers for the hour and a 3.5 in adults 18-49, but that's still below its season average from a year ago. "The Apprentice" began its fourth cycle with the smallest premiere audience yet for the Donald Trump-fronted version of the show -- 9.9 million viewers. "ER," starting its 12th season, managed to build substantially on its lead-in, drawing 14.4 million viewers and a 6.4 adults 18-49 rating, but both are all-time lows for a season premiere of the series.

CBS won the night, which happens so regularly now on Thursdays that it's hardly news. The debut of "Criminal Minds," which got a special preview following the sixth-season opener of "CSI," pulled in about 19.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched new show of the young season. It lost about a third of "CSI's" audience of just over 29 million, however.

"Criminal Minds" will have a tougher go of it when it moves to its regular home next week, opposite ABC's "Lost" at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday.

ABC's "Dancing with the Stars: Dance-off" results show drew a respectable 10.3 million viewers at 9 p.m., but its adults 18-49 rating was a ho-hum 2.6, behind CBS and NBC in its half-hour.

Source: Zap2it

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